Forget What They Say This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

March 23, 2011
Basically what he told me was that I came out a shade too dark
He told me that within my first breath of life
I had inhaled my dreams, and exhaled them as smoke;
That my burning ambitions were
Ten minus one cigarette-butts in his ashtray;
One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, asinine
So when I told him that one day I was going to be president
He laughed loud and hard, and when he did,
I could smell his stupefyingly redolent breath,
The peppermint he ate before every Sunday's service
A futile effort to conceal his alcoholism,
And when he did I could see the achievement
Gaps in between deteriorating teeth which
Masticated the fantasies of young black males who
Always expected white envelopes, but
Instead, were delivered blackmail; low expectation,
Commendation for condemnation of self,
For trusting the belief that we are limited to what Nature permits us to be
And so it is our nature to be all that we are –
And that that is inferior – and that is unreserved absurdity;
That the jackal who perceives himself a lamb is mindless, frivolous, naive;
That he is merely an inane beast,
The belief that each move we make is an act from the book that
Our divine American society's narrow mindedness has already written for us;
That we are merely our preconceived destinies
Basically what he said was,
Son, as you descend into the sinkhole of depravity that is Life,
Throw your flaming aspirations up into the clouds, and set fire to the heavens
'Cause shadows don't belong there anyway
Looking at my grandfather I see a man debased by an
Unrelenting devious belief in American tradition
But when I look into my grandfather's iridescent eyes, I see
The jackal that walks beside the shepherd, I see
A diamond gradually hatching from his filthy, worthless coal exterior,
The decadent fantasy he swallowed whole; the bad one that gave him gas;
The one that caused him to gag and defecate simultaneously
I see the last laugh, but that is only because
When I look into my grandfather's burnished eyes, what I see
Is a mirror-image of myself looking back at me from the other side
I see the boy who can be anything he wants because
His beliefs in himself surpass the disbeliefs of everyone else.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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This article has 4 comments. Post your own now!

StrugglingPoet said...
Oct. 14, 2011 at 3:34 pm
Very articulate and emotional. Congratulations on seeing the truth beneath the dirt society has created.
DeAunna said...
Oct. 14, 2011 at 10:36 am
Very well written piece, one or two spelling errors but still a very personal and beautiful piece. I love the emotion and strong voice that you used to show and express meaning, really enjoyable.
Gwendolyn S. said...
Sept. 4, 2011 at 2:04 pm
That was pretty deep. Loved it though!
lauren.elizabeth. said...
Sept. 1, 2011 at 6:19 pm
I loved the poem's imagery and felt that it was beautifully written with a strong voice. Comment for a comment?
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